Fast Start Propels Hope Past Finlandia

Fast Start Propels Hope Past Finlandia

The Hope College football team took advantage of numerous special teams breakdowns by a young Finlandia University squad on Saturday.

The Flying Dutchmen went on to win 70-6 at Ray & Sue Smith Stadium in their highest-scoring Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association game.

Hope, now 2-1 in the MIAA and 4-2 overall, blocked two punts in the first three minutes to set up short scoring drives. The Flying Dutchmen also recovered a lateral in the end zone for another touchdown as they raced to a 21-0 lead seven minutes into the game.

Head coach Peter Stuursma said his players set themselves up for success with how they approached the week leading up to Hope's first meeting with Finlandia.

"I'm really proud of our players for how they practiced and prepared. We knew Finlandia was struggling a little bit. They're a new program," Stuursma said. "We focused on ourselves and what we could do to get better. It showed up early when we jumped out on them."

Junior wide receiver Christian Bos of Hudsonville, Michigan (Unity Christian HS) opened the scoring with a 6-yard run on a jet sweep.

Just 22 seconds later, junior linebacker Kevin Hazen of Troy, Michigan (Athens HS), fell on a lateral pass by the Lions in the end zone for a touchdown.

After the second blocked punt, senior running back Mike Miklusicak of Wayland, Michigan (Wayland Union HS) scored on a 12-yard run.

Then, junior quarterback Mason Opple of Hudsonville, Michigan (Hudsonville HS) hooked up with junior wide receiver Cooper Cecchini of Hudsonville, Michigan (Hudsonville HS) on a 43-yard catch and run connection for a touchdown. Hope led 28-0 after the first quarter.

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